Japan launches ASTRO-H satellite to study black holes

Japan has successfully launched ASTRO-H space observation satellite to probe mysterious black holes.
The satellite was launched by H2A rocket after it had successfully lifted off at the Tanegashima Space Centre.
Key facts

  • ASTRO-H satellite has been developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in cooperation with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and others.
  • It will orbit earth at an altitude of about 580 kilometres and observe X-rays emanating mainly from black holes and galaxy clusters.
  • It is cylindrically shaped and is 14 meters long and weighs 2.7 tonnes. It is the heaviest scientific satellite Japan has worked on. It will help unravel the mysteries of the universe.
  • The satellite has been equipped with four X-ray telescopes and two gamma-ray detectors and is designed to capture X-rays that cannot be detected on Earth because the planet’s atmosphere absorbs them.



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